Diti Inst Post 1200x630 03

Seeing things differently: how diversity leads to resilience


For Diti Bhasin, looking and thinking differently from the people around her has been a rule, rather than an exception. Diti is Flexability’s Director of Digital Strategies & Equity Programs.

“I grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC and diversity was always a part of my childhood,” she says.

“I was the one who was different, and so none of my friends really looked like me. I’ve always had a kind of mixed-up group of friends. Because I didn’t have that safety net of people who looked like me or grew up the same way I grew up, it taught me very quickly that I had to be adaptable. There’s beauty in learning other cultures.”

"I don’t care about this because I’m Brown; I care about this because diversity builds better mindsets."

Bhasin is passionate about diversity, because she believes it leads to stronger, more resilient and compassionate teams. She acknowledges, though, that her childhood was very different from that of many of the people she went to school with and worked with.

“My parents made sure I travelled a lot internationally at a very young age. Being able to see different cultures at a very young age, you realize not everyone looks like you, thinks like you or has the same background as you. It taught me to embrace diversity at a very young age. I don’t care about this because I’m Brown; I care about this because diversity builds better mindsets and better partnerships.”

Bhasin’s insights are also unique because she has an “invisible disability”.

“I think we don’t realize the amount of people who are impacted by disability. I have ADHD. It’s an invisible disability – you don’t see it. I actually got diagnosed in my mid-20s. I didn’t even know that I had it until quite recently.

“Not knowing that I had ADHD actually impacted a lot of my life. So with school specifically, I found that the way that I think is very different. I might come to the same point as someone else, but the way I get to that point, the way I think about it, I’ve probably taken a very different path. A lot of times it can be frustrating but, it’s also a thing I kind of pride myself on.”

These formative experiences have helped Diti’s career lead her to Flexability, a company that works with other companies and organizations to build thriving teams that are diverse and inclusive.

“Being the person who is different, you realize there are a lot of other people out there who are also typically the person who is always different in their group. I just want to make sure that those people are given the opportunity to be valued for being different and for having that different viewpoint; that they’re given an opportunity to not just succeed in the workplace, but to lead in the workplace because they’re able to think differently.”

"A big misstep that I’ve seen companies make on this inclusion journey is that they have a bit of toxic positivity."

In Bhasin’s experience, getting inclusion and diversity right in the workplace rests on creating a company culture that is open and honest about the changes that need to happen and the progress that’s being made (or isn’t being made). (You'll find resources on how to create a diverse and inclusive workplace here.)

“A big misstep that I’ve seen companies make on this inclusion journey is that they have a bit of toxic positivity: people feel as though you have to be super positive about everything.

“I think being more open to just admitting that you’re taking a first step in your learning is really powerful. Also, quickly admitting when, or if, you’ve made a mistake will do much more for your integrity with your employees and how they feel about their workplace.”

Get in touch with our team to talk about how to create a diverse, successful and productive workplace in your company or organisation. Or share your stories using the hashtag #MyAbility and tagging @getflexability on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.